I was originally going to write my paper on this video, but I feel that it is very important to expose as many people as possible to the truth.
The topic of this video is government surveillance and, specifically, the regimes involved in the Arab Spring and US capabilities.
The speaker starts off talking about the current trends of US warrantless communication interceptions. Last year, 1.2 million intercepts (non-national security letters) were issued at the request of local police departments for phone dumps. In fact, the number of intercepts for Sprint alone was more than all the court ordered issues nationwide! He mentions that ISP’s (by name, Time Warner) log the IP addresses of wireless devices used behind wireless gateways to help police identify users, which is obviously not required by law. He says that the state uses software like Palentir to cross check multiple databases searching for “terrorists”. He also mentions Facebook monitoring chat logs looking for child predators.
He then turns to the Arab Spring. This is to build the argument that if this third world country can get their hands on these capabilities, just imagine what a country like the US can do. Libyan suppression capacities during their revolution included the ability to monitor all unencrypted traffic – email, IM, VoIP, web, deep packet inspection, cell phone triangulation and monitoring, and land line phone tapping gear. This essentially provided Ghadafi the capability to monitor nearly all traffic.
The US is very secretive in their capabilities – much of which is even kept secret from Congress. The NSA had most of Ghadafi’s abilities 20 years ago with the ECHELON system. CALEA has remote interception capability. Here, the speaker makes a very profound statement. He says that it is safe to assume all Internet traffic nationwide is being logged and analyzed, and that it is also safe to assume that all SSL’s and VPN’s are compromised.
He mentions the Utah Data Center a couple of times throughout the speech. Carrier logs are now available to even local police (anybody you dial or that calls you, including messaging). Apparently last week it came out that a police department can get a tower dump for only $75 from AT&T. Another alarming statistic that we’ve covered is that warrantless “emergency” intercepts are growing at a rate of 15% a year. One of the most interesting things – I thought – that he talked about was some new legislation in the US giving the state the ability to remotely interrupt cellphones, use a land line kill switch, and send threatening SMS messages to citizens!
At the end, he poses an excellent question: if you combined the McCarthy era with today’s surveillance tools and laws, what would be the result?
I think that question sums up his speech very nicely. In the past decade, we’ve seen fear used as a motivator so many times, we’ve seen blatant lying become the norm, we’ve all experienced news sources making up facts and figures and giving opinions rather than facts (yes, some more than others). The average citizen who doesn’t have the time or the care to look up facts will either refuse to believe anything they hear, or only listen to one news source because “every other one has a (liberal) bias!” The state that things have come to is rather despicable. People are unwilling to take back our country – at the very least by voting for people that would actually represent them – as we move closer and closer to a police state. How long did it take before the police “found” Ted Kaczynski? 17 years? How long did it take them to find the Boston Bombers? Two days? Obviously the government has these capabilities and in situations like what happened last week, it’s good that they do. But there’s definitely more going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about.
This isn’t a call to arms (at least, not from me), it’s just a public service announcement that our freedom is an illusion. Any thoughts on these privacy violations?